THE KAUFMAN HOUSE / MAY 13, 2008

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks for filling in the picture, Peter. It is paradoxical that sometimes it is only after more time has passed that we get a clearer picture of events -- in this case, presumably, because more Wright/Schindler correspondence is available to us now than was the case when Esther McCoy wrote her book ?


SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Exerpts from Schindler's correspondence on his Wikipedia page:

"Can't you give me two lines, just two lines of recommendations without any hints at 'what a great man the boss is' and what poor fishes they are in comparison" — Schindler to Wright, while attempting to apply for his license to practice architecture

"My dear Rodolph Schindler: ... I am in receipt of a letter from the Board asking if you had made designs for me. The answer to that is, -- No you didn’t. Nobody makes designs for me. Sometimes if they are in luck, or rather if I am in luck, they make them with me. ... Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings. I believe that anything you would design would take rank in the new work being done in the country as worthy of respect." — Wright to Schindler, July 1929

"You further called it an exhibition of ‘California Architects’. Now it has become one of ‘Neutra and others’. I am quite willing to give Neutra the crown for his ability as a publicity man, but I am not willing to sail under his flag as an architect." — Schindler to Mrs. Frantl at MOMA in response to an upcoming exhibition, September 1935

"I consider myself the first and still one of the few architects who consciously abandoned stylistic sculptural architecture in order to develop space as a medium of art. ... I believe that outside of Frank Lloyd Wright I am the only architect in U.S. who has attained a distinct local and personal form language." — Schindler to Elisabeth Mock at MOMA, August 1943

"He has built quite a number of buildings in and around Los Angeles that seem to be admirable from the standpoint of design, and I have not heard of any of them falling down". — Wright

"He has a good mind, is affectionate in disposition, and is fairly honorable I believe. Personally, though strongly individual, he is not unduly eccentric and I, in common with many others, like him very much" — Wright

"Personally, I appreciate Rudolph. He is an incorrigible Bohemian and refuses to allow the Los Angeles barber to apply the razor to the scruff of his neck. He also has peculiarly simple and effective ideas regarding his own personal conduct. I believe, however, that he is capable as an artist. I have found him a too complacent and therefore a rotten superintendent. The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed. I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money. I should say that was his extreme fault in these circumstances of endeavoring to build buildings" — Wright

"Rudolph was a patient assistant who seemed well aware of the significance of what I was then doing. His sympathetic appreciation never failed. His talents were adequate to any demands made upon them by me" — Wright at Schindler's Memorial Exhibition of 1954

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

FLW should not have been averse to letting Schindler have the Hardy Monolith Homes; they are poorly planned, almost nonfunctional. I take issue with Sweeney's comparison of them with Bock and Unity, both of which have superb plans. The similarities are limited to a glance of at the exteriors.

By the way, I've looked through everything in my library and contacted John Geiger, but while both of us seem certain to have seen a plan of Boulder, neither can find it. Possibly we saw an unpublished drawing at Taliesin.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Whoa. The houses on page 3! where have I been?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

As far as I know we haven't yet seen plans for a Monolith residence. There is this:

Image



Somewhere there must be documentation of the Staley and Shampay projects Schindler drew for Wright. I know I have a line drawing "worms-eye" perspective of Shampay (I think) but can't place it. I don't have the relevant Monogaph; Taschen dispenses with Staley, Shampay, and Hardy (Monolith) in a single short paragraph (Vol II, p 59):

Image

with no illustrations.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

In the meantime, Hitchcock, no doubt at Wright's instigation, deals peremptorily the Monolith, Staley and Shampay projects all at once, in
"In the Nature of Materials" (1942, p 123):


Image


while these Shampay images show up online:

Image
https://www.jstor.org/stable/991869?seq ... b_contents

Image
https://www.emis.de/journals/NNJ/Park-v5n2.html

Image
http://www.ncmodernist.org/wright.htm


SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I know of nothing published about Staley, but both Monolith (Mono 4/191) and Shampay (Mono 4/192-5) include floor plans and sections, and elevations for Shampay, as well. Another source for the Shampay plan (pg 24) is "The Architecture of R. M. Schindler," a MOCA publication of several essays on RMS.

The Monolith plan, on a 2' square grid, is rigidly symmetrical, with too much wasted space. The one-story space at the left of the perspective is a 14'-square living room. The entrance is at the bottom of the 2-story fenestration, with a bedroom above and a bath in the opposite corner. A galley kitchen bisects the 2-story block. The single story extension in the back is a work room.

Shampay is such a bad exercise, that I am surprised that it was included in the Monographs. The extent of the work done on Shampay indicate that it remained a viable commission up to the last minute. But had it been constructed, it would not have enhanced the reputation of FLW.

Seems to me that Shampay is proof that some architects (or creative persons in general) should not try to work outside their own aesthetic. The excellent work that RMS did as soon as he left FLW prove that his time at Taliesin was largely wasted.

Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

https://visionsofwright.wordpress.com/2 ... ouse-1951/

I have some high-quality scans of the Boulder project on my site.

Rood
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Post by Rood »

peterm wrote:i realize this thread was supossed to be about neutra's kaufmann house, but since we have found ourselves discussing schindler, please excuse me...


esther mccoy's account of the correspondences between wright and schindler is somewhat incomplete.

june 12, 1953, schindler is dying

scheine continues:

"on 12 june, wright sent a short letter:


"no matter how ambition may lead us astray, the old bonds still hold and i am sorry my once faithful helper should suffer. my best feelings go to you
to tell you i still cherish memories of your ready smile and vivacious wit. your talents served me well amid those of a lot of liars and pretenders wose success is ephemeral - worthless to humanity.

"so rudolph, dear man - here's to you in your extremity. if i can help you in any way let me know."

in reply schindler wrote:

"thank you for your sympathy.
"being raised in the alps i have learned about the feeling of veneration and the love that mountaintops can inspire. tremendous distance, long silences, and even direct disagreement could not break my loyalty towards you."

judith scheine

these letters speak volumes!
Mr. Wright's letter to Schindler was prompted by a letter to Wright from Schindler's wife, who prevailed upon him to say something sympathetic to Schindler, who was then on his death-bed. If my memory holds true (having read her letter over 40 years ago), she told Wright that Schindler regretted the break between them more than almost anything in the world, and that something from Wright would be of great comfort to him during his last days.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks for those, Macrodex. Swimming around in one of the Boulder House illustrations -- by Jack Howe, would you say ? -- is a treat.

Image

How he managed to get all those vertical lines perfectly equally spaced -- and quickly, so they say -- is a wonder. But it's the colors I marvel at, above.


The aerial view presents another wonder: the discontinuity of perspective which allows a horizon to appear on a drawing taken from this angle.

Image


Wright's drafters do this repeatedly; I think that's actually the Pacific Ocean in the background !

Image


Here are two views of the Lenkurt Electrical project; the daytime one is correctly shown without a horizon, but the night-time one, from the same angle, gives us the distant hills.

Image

Image



For this anomaly Wright has ample precedent, in his beloved Hokusai.

Image

Image

Granted, the second of these examples gets closer to being a believable perspective. Other examples in Hokusai vary between the two poles; perhaps, in both his case and Wright's,
a certain license is assumed, in the name of compositional stylization, or perhaps simple poetic license ?

http://www.japaneseprints-london.com/uk ... es-313.jpg

http://www.japaneseprints-london.com/uk ... es-318.jpg

http://www.japaneseprints-london.com/uk ... pes235.jpg

In these three examples the buildings are drawn as isometric rather than perspective views, suggesting that the artist doesn't intend a realistic representation ?

http://www.japaneseprints-london.com/uk ... pes152.jpg

https://data.ukiyo-e.org/mfa/images/sc206459.jpg

These two are just so swell that I couldn't pass them up; perspective is nearly believable here, even if the house on the mountain is also an isometric . . .


Just for good measure, here's Hiroshige pulling the same stunt:

https://data.ukiyo-e.org/artelino/images/37587g1.jpg


SDR

Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

Shame we'll never see the plans to the Boulder project.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I know I've seen the Boulder House plans, but for the life of me, I cannot remember where. The oddest part of the house is the way a chunk of the major marquise-shaped section is cut out and interrupted by the horizontal, circular roof, mostly open, above the terrace ... visible on the right of the first drawing above. This project should be another prime target for CGI.

Rood
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Post by Rood »

Macrodex wrote:Shame we'll never see the plans to the Boulder project.
Hmmm ... Will have to conduct a search, as I have a plan, here, somewhere. Haven't looked at or studied it in ages, but I believe a study is located on the second floor, behind the roof "cutout"

SDR
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Post by SDR »

A further half-dozen examples of poetic perspective horizons:


Image

Image

Image Hillside, 1933 -- the most delightfully outrageous example yet . . .

Image the Lloyd Burlingame project, 1941-3

Image

Image

images Copyright © by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

Rood wrote:
Macrodex wrote:Shame we'll never see the plans to the Boulder project.
Hmmm ... Will have to conduct a search, as I have a plan, here, somewhere. Haven't looked at or studied it in ages, but I believe a study is located on the second floor, behind the roof "cutout"
Well, if you manage to find it, please post it.

I could swear I read that the plans were lost when Wright shipped them to a French publication for them to publish and they were never returned -- since they were lost in transit, or something like that.

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